Councils push for greater action on HML

Victorian councils push for more road funding to improve heavy vehicle access under HML

Councils push for greater action on HML
Councils push for greater action on HML
By Brad Gardner | June 23, 2009

Victorian councils are pushing for greater action on road funding in an attempt to improve the higher mass limits (HML) regime.

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), which represents the State’s local governments, is currently developing a funding submission to the federal government to increase the number of routes capable of supporting trucks.

If agreed to, money will be spent on routes identified by councils as suitable for HML, potentially ending a deadlock on heavy vehicle access.

Currently, MAV President and councillor Bill McArthur says local governments are reluctant to open their road network to heavy vehicles.

"The proposal is for councils to classify their local road network for classes of vehicles so that individual operators will not need to seek consent for access on a trip by trip basis," McArthur says.

"However, in many instances, upgrades will be required before routes can be re-classified for trucks."

McArthur also wants a long-term strategy developed for HML, saying the industry needs to work with government in formulating a systematic access plan.

"This will ensure all stakeholders are part of one collaborative process and that decisions are inclusive and agreed by governments, industry and communities," he says.

Despite moves to improve HML, however, the MAV has warned the trucking industry that road funding will not be the sole focus in granting heavy vehicle access.

While saying local government supports an efficient road freight task, McArthur says it must not come at the expense of community safety and amenity.

McArthur’s comments come as the trucking industry pressures the NSW Government to alter its approach to HML.

Under current guidelines, operators only have access to generic maps providing an overview of HML routes. Companies must first enrol in the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) and have the technology installed before the Roads and Traffic Authority hands over detailed maps.

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has criticised the stance, with the group calling for the process to be overhauled before IAP becomes mandatory from July 1.

"It is the horse before the cart. You don’t have access to detailed maps until you sign up," Chambers says.

A survey released last week by the VTA revealed operators were unlikely to enrol in the monitoring program in NSW due to uncertainty over whether they will have access to a particular route.

Unlike NSW, Queensland publishes detailed HML routes outlining specifically where access ends on major highways and local roads.

Victoria opted against linking HML to enrolment in IAP, instead choosing to make it mandatory for concrete pump trucks and mobile cranes.

ATN has contacted the office of NSW Minister for Roads Michael Daley for comment.

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